Workshops

A central feature of the MMA Annual Meeting is the wide selection of workshops covering the latest developments and pressing issues affecting local government.


Friday First Session, 2-3:15 p.m.

The ABCs of EVs: Electric Vehicles 101
Room 206, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
This session is an introduction to electric vehicles for municipalities. Attendees will learn about planning for EV infrastructure, model policies to encourage EV charging development, and practical how-tos to electrify municipal vehicles and equipment. This workshop will explore vehicle electrification across local and regional approaches.
Panelists
Alan Cathcart is the director of public works in Concord.
Brian Picariello is a senior consultant for transportation electrification at VEIC.
Steven Tupper is the deputy director at the Cape Cod Commission.
Anna Vanderspek is the electric vehicle program director at the Green Energy Consumers Alliance.
Moderator
Jim Lovejoy is chair of the Mount Washington Select Board and chair of the MMA Policy Committee on Public Works, Transportation and Public Utilities.
The Role of Regional and Local Planning – Cape Cod Commission (8M PDF)
Funding Opportunities for Vehicle Electrification & Charging for Municipalities in Mass. – Green Energy Consumers Alliance (1.3M PDF)
Municipal EV Considerations & Bylaws – VEIC (1.3M PDF)
Town of Concord EV Program (5M PDF)

Can I Work From Home? Succession Planning Post-Pandemic
Room 203, Presented by Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources
Many municipal employers are facing significant disruptions caused by employee turnover, made worse by an increased rate of retirements and the “great resignation” following the COVID-19 pandemic. This workshop will examine both tried-and-true and new approaches to employee retention and succession planning that will help municipalities more effectively handle employee transitions.
Panelists
Joellen Cademartori is CEO and co-owner of GovHR USA.
Libby Gibson is the town manager in Nantucket.
Moderator
Vanessa Hale is the assistant town administrator in Southborough.
Can I Work From Home? Succession Planning Post-Pandemic – GovHR USA presentation (950K PDF)
Can I Work From Home? Succession Planning Post-Pandemic – town of Nantucket presentation (3M PDF)

Economic and Fiscal Outlook
Room 210, Presented by the Division of Local Services
This workshop will cover important current issues in municipal finance and will look at fiscal 2023 and beyond. Administration officials will give updates on the status of state tax collections and the state’s economic outlook.
Panelists
Zack Blake is chief of the Financial Management Resource Bureau at the Division of Local Services.
Kirsten Shirer is chief of the Data Analytics and Resources Bureau at the Division of Local Services.
Geoffrey Snyder is commissioner of the Department of Revenue.
Deb Wagner is chief of the Bureau of Accounts at the Division of Local Services.
Chris Wilcock is chief of the Bureau of Local Assessment at the Division of Local Services.
Ken Woodland is chief of the Bureau of Municipal Finance Law at the Division of Local Services.
Moderator
Sean Cronin is the senior deputy commissioner of local services for the Division of Local Services.
Economic and Fiscal Outlook – Mass. Dept. of Revenue (1.5M PDF)

Hot Topics in Municipal Law
Room 200, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association
Significant developments in municipal law will anchor this workshop. A panel of municipal attorneys will discuss the impact on cities and towns of key federal and state cases, agency decisions, new laws and developing issues, including in the areas of land use and municipal finance.
Panelists
Donna Brewer is a partner at the law firm of Miyares & Harrington.
Kathleen Colleary is a former municipal finance law bureau chief at the Division of Local Services in the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
Susan Murphy is an attorney at the law firm Dain Torpy.
Moderator
Matthew Feher is president of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and a partner at KP | Law.
Hot Topics in Municipal Law: Municipal Finance – Kathleen Colleary presentation (170K PDF)
Update of Municipal Law Developments in 2022 – Miyares & Harrington (380K PDF)
Hot Topics in Municipal Law: Recent Developments in Land Use Law – Susan Murphy presentation (215K PDF)

Regionalization: Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Room 202, Presented by Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts
Regionalization can be an important tool to help small communities improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of municipal service delivery. This session will examine three case studies of successful regionalization efforts around the Commonwealth. Attendees will learn about different approaches to regionalization, benefits and drawbacks, and real-life examples of what has and has not worked.
Panelists
Leon Gaumond is the town manager in Weston.
Ryan McLane is the town administrator in Carlisle.
Nicole Parker is the town administrator in Hardwick.
Jessica Sizer is the town administrator in Barre.
Moderator
Shaun Suhoski is the town manager in Athol and the chair of Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts.
Strategies for Successful Local Government Collaboration – Municipal Advocate (2M PDF)
Report of the Regionalization Advisory Commission (450K PDF)
Regionalization: Best Practices and Lessons Learned presentation (630K PDF)

Strengthening Your Municipal Cybersecurity Program and Incident Response Planning
Room 208, Presented by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association
This workshop will focus on the importance of municipal cyber incident response planning (Cybersecurity Minimum Baseline Goal 3) and tools and resources municipal leaders can use to achieve this goal. Topics will include MIT cybersecurity benchmarking efforts, cyber insurance and breach and response services, the MassCyberCenter’s Cyber Incident Response Planning materials, and other resources from across the Commonwealth.
Panelists
Gregory Bautista is a partner at Mullen Coughlin.
Brian Gavioli is a detective lieutenant in the Massachusetts State Police’s Commonwealth Fusion Center.
Taylor Reynolds is the technology policy director of the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative.
Moderator
Stephanie Helm is director of the MassCyberCenter.
Resources to Support Municipal Cyber Resiliency (964K PDF)
Strengthening Your Municipal Cybersecurity Program and Incident Response Planning – presentation (3.5M PDF)


Friday Second Session, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Cultivating an Effective Manager/Board Relationship
Room 202, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association
A strong and effective relationship between the town manager and select board is key to any community’s success. This panel of experienced managers will discuss the basics of board/manager relations and strategies they have employed during their careers that contributed to professional, thriving relationships with their boards. Attendees will also learn how to navigate challenging and politically difficult situations.
Panelists
Bud Dunham is the town manager in Sandwich and president of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association.
Julie Jacobson is the town manager in Auburn.
Mel Kleckner is a retired town manager who most recently served as the town administrator in Brookline.
Jeffrey Nutting is a retired town administrator who is currently serving as the interim town administrator in Hopedale.
Cultivating an Effective Manager/Board Relationship presentation (83K PDF)
Ashburnham Board of Selectmen Code of Conduct (40K PDF)
Auburn Board of Selectmen Code of Conduct adopted 2019 (170K PDF)
Auburn Board of Selectmen Code of Conduct (140K PDF)
Auburn Generic New Board of Selectmen Member Welcome Orientation Letter (190K PDF)
Berlin Code of Conduct approved 2019 (180K PDF)
Carver Board of Selectmen Code of Conduct (80K PDF)
Easton Board of Selectmen Statement of Ethics (15K PDF)
Hingham Board of Selectmen Code of Conduct (270K PDF)
Holden Selectboard Code of Conduct (17K PDF)
Littleton Code of Conduct and Ethics (75K PDF)
Reading Code of Conduct (19K PDF)
Sandwich Code of Conduct for Town Boards and Committees (125K PDF)

Getting It Right: How Municipalities Can Achieve Housing Goals
Room 200, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
This session will cover statewide housing goals and requirements, pathways and options for municipalities, and examples from four municipalities making remarkable progress. Attendees will learn the basics of housing goals, defining housing needs, and understanding market demand and state metrics to measure success. The session will also cover recent state requirements and tools to help municipalities comply. Municipal leaders will describe their efforts to achieve housing goals, including information about community engagement and creating buy-in.
Panelists
Jenny Gingras is the town planner in Pepperell.
Andrew MacLean is the town administrator in Pepperell.
Christine Madore is the senior development manager at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership.
Moderator
Jennifer Raitt is executive director of the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments.
Getting It Right: How Municipalities Can Achieve Housing Goals presentation (4M PDF)
Building the Base to Support Zoning Amendments presentation (3.8M PDF)

The Latest in Labor Law
Room 210, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
Trends in labor and employment law significantly impact municipalities in Massachusetts. Two employment and labor law attorneys with decades of experience will discuss the developments in 2022, and what to expect in the near future. They will cover major court cases, agency decisions and legislation covering workplace safety, civil service, collective bargaining, pensions, and other important labor law issues.
Panelist
D. Moschos is of counsel with Seder & Chandler LLP.
Melissa Murray is a partner with Norris, Murray & Peloquin, LLP.
Moderator
Ryan Jaziri is a partner at Morgan, Brown & Joy LLP.
Labor Law Update packet – D. Moschos (3M PDF)
Labor Law Update presentation – D. Moschos (5M PDF)
Lowlights and Highlights of Agency Employment Decisions Reported in 2022 presentation – Melissa Murray (530K PDF)

The Path Forward on PFAS: Examining State and Local Approaches
Room 203, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
Are you struggling to understand the landscape of PFAS, the “forever chemicals” that are causing major headaches for municipalities in Massachusetts and beyond? This workshop will discuss the work of the PFAS Interagency Task Force to address this growing problem, and how municipalities can address PFAS contamination. Attendees will learn how to leverage state and local tools to combat PFAS and what help is on the horizon.
Panelists
Michael Blanchard is the assistant town administrator in Easton.
Jennifer Pederson is the executive director of the Massachusetts Water Works Association and served on the PFAS Interagency Task Force.
Robert Ward is the director of public works in Haverhill.
Moderator
Josie Ahlberg is a legislative analyst at the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
The Path Forward on PFAS: Examining State and Local Approaches presentation– town of Easton (2M PDF)
The Path Forward on PFAS: Examining State and Local Approaches presentation – Massachusetts Water Works Association (2M PDF)

Private Roads: Political Nightmare, Legal Reality
Room 206, Presented by the Massachusetts Highway Association
This session will provide the foundational knowledge necessary to navigate community conversations about public investment in private roadways. Attendees will learn about the legal boundaries for private road repair, and get clarity on labels and definitions and the limitations and processes concerning private roadways. Attendees will hear from an experienced attorney, as well as examples of local practice from municipal officials.
Panelists
Brutus Cantoreggi is the director of public works in Franklin.
Michael Hale is the director of public works in Gloucester.
Karis North is an attorney at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane.
Moderator
Lisa DeMeo is the town engineer in Lynnfield and president of the Massachusetts Highway Association.
Private Roads: Political Nightmare, Legal Reality presentation – Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane (234K PDF)

Using Public Communications to Build Community and Trust
Room 208, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association
Public sector communication professionals will provide tools and strategies for communities of all sizes. Attendees will learn how to engage with residents more successfully and deliver important information in a way that is accessible and has the greatest impact. This interactive session will include ample time for questions.
Panelists
Sean Dugan is the communications director and special projects coordinator for the town of Lexington.
Cyndi Gonzalez is the public information officer for the town of Needham.
Moderator
Brianna Sunryd is the director of communications and the civic innovation and community participation officer for the town of Amherst.
Using Public Communications to Build Community and Trust presentation (5M PDF)


Saturday Session, 1:15-2:30 p.m.

Cooling Hostility: Tools and Strategies
Room 202, Presented by MIIA Wellness
Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of inappropriate anger and hostility. And sometimes the hostility that needs to be cooled is our own. This entertaining and practical presentation will explain how to cool down potentially hot situations, including assessing and understanding causal factors, managing stress triggers, avoiding unnecessary arguments, asking the right questions, communicating with empathy and compassion, recovering from mistakes, and identifying effective ways to calm yourself down. Misplaced hostility directed at you isn’t rational or helpful — but you can be.
Panelist
Jerry Posner is an accomplished training specialist, conference speaker, strategic coach and author.
Cooling Hostility: Tools and Strategies handout (418K PDF)

Going, Going, Green! Municipal Aggregation and Clean Energy
Room 206, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
This session will detail how municipal aggregation programs use bulk purchasing to provide residents with more stable costs and opportunities to select cleaner power than the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard. Attendees will learn how to start a municipal aggregation program and hear successful tips and strategies from three municipalities.
Panelists
Jonathan Goldberg is the chief legal counsel and director of legal operations for the Department of Public Utilities.
Martha Grover is the sustainability manager in Melrose.
Julie Jacobson is the town manager in Auburn.
Moderator
Michael Ossing is president of the Marlborough City Council and chair of the MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment.
Municipal Aggregation: An Overview presentation (1.2M PDF)

Mental Health and Policing: Crisis Intervention and Co-Responders
Room 200, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
Law enforcement officials in Massachusetts are regularly called upon to interact with residents who are dealing with complex mental health challenges. The health care and social service resources required to meet this growing demand have expanded the approach of many cities and towns to include health care professionals in their public safety efforts. This session will present the dynamic challenges in this area, while demonstrating recent local approaches incorporating co-responders and alternative responders.
Panelists
Earl Miller is director of Community Responders for Equity, Safety and Service in Amherst.
Michael Wynn is the police chief in Pittsfield.
Moderator
Dave Koffman is the MMA’s senior executive and legislative director.
Community Responders For Equity, Safety and Service (CRESS) presentation (2.6M PDF)
Law Enforcement and Mental Health presentation – Chief Wynn (800K PDF)

Neighborhood Joints: The CCC and Your Municipality
Room 208, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
This workshop will look at the sweeping 2022 cannabis law and feature key voices from the Cannabis Control Commission. Attendees will get a better understanding of how the law may affect their municipality, including host community agreements, and on-site consumption and the complexities that may surface in this emerging area. This session will also cover how municipalities may prepare for market forces, and how to be best positioned as rules begin to solidify.
Panelists
Nurys Camargo is a commissioner at the Cannabis Control Commission.
Bruce Stebbins is a commissioner at the Cannabis Control Commission.
Moderator
Shaun Suhoski is the town manager in Athol and a member of the Cannabis Advisory Board.
Neighborhood Joints: The CCC and Your Municipality presentation (4.3M PDF)

Reframing Recruitment: Advancing Municipal Hiring Strategies
Room 203, Presented by the Massachusetts Select Board Association
Are you struggling to fill open positions in your city or town? If so, it may be time to rethink your hiring strategy. Discover how to attract diverse candidates and remain competitive in the Commonwealth by embracing an innovative recruitment approach. Municipal human resources professionals will share how to reframe the benefits of working in local government, leverage internal and external resources, and adopt timely hiring tactics to set your community up for success.
Panelists
Lisa Cammarata is the human resources director in Salem.
Caitlyn Julius is the assistant human resources director in Springfield.
Moderator
Jen Breaker is the assistant town manager and communications director in Danvers.
Town of Danvers Telecommuting Policy (300K PDF)
Reframing Recruitment: Advancing Municipal Hiring Strategies presentation (9M PDF)
City of Salem Dept. of Public Services’ Job Fair flyer (235K PDF)
City of Salem HR Dept. Why Work in Local Government flyer (235K PDF)
City of Springfield Animal Control Open House flyer (390K PDF)
City of Springfield Benefits Package (390K PDF)
City of Springfield Firefighter Exam Open House flyer (400K PDF)
City of Springfield We Are Hiring flyer (514K PDF)

Transportation Funding Opportunities Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Room 210, Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Association
This workshop will provide an overview of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with a specific focus on transportation funding. Attendees will learn about discretionary transportation grants available for municipalities, hear about the role of regional planning organizations, and learn from recent grant applicants.
Panelists
Beth Giannini is the transportation program manager for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.
Hayes Morrison is the mobility chief at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Cassandra Ostrander is the program development team leader at the Federal Highway Administration Massachusetts Division.
Moderator
Heath Fahle is the assistant secretary for federal funds at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Overview of Highway Provisions presentation (955K PDF)
Partnering with RPAs presentation – Franklin Regional Council of Governments (2M PDF)
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Discretionary Funds Overview presentation (1.2M PDF)
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Overview – Executive Office for Administration and Finance (1.7M PDF)

View Learning Lab sessions

The MMA welcomes suggestions from members about the topics you would like to see covered during workshops at future Annual Meetings. Please use this form to share your ideas with us!

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